It’s been almost four and a half years since I got my venerable Canon EOS 20D. And, in DSLR time, that’s quite a lot.
The 20D was a fantastic camera for its time, highly valued by both amateurs such as myself and pros (mostly as a second body). Sadly, most updates to the series by Canon have left me cold: The 30D was a very marginal improvement to its predecessor and the 40D, while impressive on its own, paled in comparison to Nikon’s D300 (even though the latter was significantly more expensive).
Canon seemed right on the path of losing the DSLR crown and while the figures still showed that it was the undisputed king in terms of sales, it’s the mindshare that matters most and betrays the trends of things to come.
And then it happened: for the first time in the short history of Digital SLR cameras, Canon, the market leader, the innovator, the king of DSLRs ever since they started becoming the tool of choice for million of photographers, in sport, studio and landscape photography, flinched. The Canon EOS 50D, was announced yesterday, just a short 12 months after its predecessor, the 40D. 12 months instead of the customary 18 that underlines most of Canon’s release cycles for the series, all the while Nikon upped the stakes with D90 and the D700.
The Canon EOS 50D looks like it might become my next camera; given my investment in Canon glass, it’d make no sense to switch to Nikon now. It’s price (£1200, according to Amazon UK; that’s around €1,500 at the time of writing) is quite steep for a body-only mid-range prosumer DSLR camera. I’m sure that the price will come down very quickly, especially once Canon releases the long awaited successor to the ageing EOS 5D and the rest of the market adjusts to its release.
This is a welcome step for Canon; a rare, wise and humble step by the leading camera manufacturer, but also a company that has been consistently outsmarted by its arch-rival in the past few years; a company facing intense competition by ‘challengers’ in the form of Sony and Olympus and a company that probably has the unique position to massively fuel competition in the SLR market segment.